When then-President Donald Trump had Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accompany him on a visit to a Washington, D.C., church to denounce Black Lives Matter protesters who were besieging the White House, Democrats had a fit, denouncing the move as using the military for political purposes. Some believed that it was a clear threat to silence opposition with the use of military force. But when President Joe Biden gave a partisan political speech in Philadelphia flanked by Marine guards, there was nary a peep from the Left. Hypocrisy seems to be in season in Washington these days.
Few Americans probably view a four-star general who is obviously in need of a weight-control program as a clear and present danger to American democracy. The U.S. Marine Corps is a different matter. The Marines represent something special to the American people. Americans trust that the Corps is above politics and will defend the Constitution no matter who is in charge at the time. In using Marines as political props, Biden was clearly doing what Trump was accused of doing. The man who was elected to be a unifier has — once again — driven the nation further apart.
Biden used the Philadelphia speech to cast his political opposition as fascists. Let’s do a little Fascism 101. The real fascists of the Italian and German variety had several defining characteristics. They branded legitimate opposition as “enemies of the state.” Their leaders always appeared on stage flanked by military men. They sought public compliance with government-supplied goodies such as free vacations, free public health care, and government-subsidized industry.
Biden has labeled his opposition as “enemies within,” has surrounded himself with military trappings, and is attempting to create false demand for consumer goods — electric cars — through government subsidies. Nazi Germany killed children deemed as defective. Biden champions a federal law that would do Hitler one better by killing the kids before they are born. The major difference between Biden and the real-deal fascists is that they competently managed their economies and avoided the worst of the worldwide recession. For two years, our president has dug us deeper into an economic hole.
Fascists don’t just want to defeat their opponents; they aim to destroy them and create a one-party state in the process. They start with demonizing their legitimate opponents, as Biden did in Philadelphia. Then they find means to systematically prosecute them. About 31 of Biden’s political opponents have been incarcerated, with about 165 convicted in federal court on charges that would amount to disorderly conduct and trespassing in any municipality in the United States other than Washington, D.C. Biden and his Justice Department are lining up a case against his defeated presidential rival. The people who took part in the Black Lives Matter riots desecrated federal buildings throughout the country. Some have been convicted and prosecuted, but not one has been accused of sedition or insurrection. There are no Republicans in that crowd. (READ MORE: Jamie Raskin Admits: Democrats Are Fascists)
I am not seriously accusing Biden of being a real fascist. Real fascists are socialists who are also nationalists and put their country first above others. Nobody has ever accused Biden of the latter; his real problem is that he does not know the difference. Real fascists also have some core beliefs. No one has ever accused Biden of that either.
Biden has not yet gone so far as to call Trump a fascist, but he has implied it. Trump is an easy target because he is a populist demagogue; Biden would like to be but lacks oratory skills and charisma. He generates the same level of excitement as drying paint.
That brings us to the matter of the military component of the Philadelphia incident. Milley at least had the good sense to apologize for appearing with Trump in a political stunt. Gen. David Berger, the Marine Corps commandant, has been silent about allowing Marines to participate in a political event. This is understandable because Berger is competing with Milley for the role of “most woke” among our senior military leaders. Progressives love him, and he is an odds-on favorite to be the next Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. It at least would get him away from the Marine Corps, but the damage he has done may be irreparable. Do not expect him to take a principled stand against the politicization of the military.
We have gotten to a point where politicians on both sides of the aisle feel comfortable calling the opposition fascists. An outside observer could be forgiven for concluding that we are all fascists now.
Gary Anderson lectures on Alternative Analysis at the graduate level.